Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Road Trip

Back in September my oldest daughter asked to take a relaxing vacation before she started her first professional job and would have no vacation time for quite a while. We went to Fort Lauderdale and spent several days being beach bums.  Lovely and relaxing. But then, of course, Peachie wanted a vacation too.

I had always wanted to go to Sedona and she was up for the adventure.  We decided to make it a road trip by flying into Las Vegas and then renting a car and seeing what was to be seen.  I started the planning months ago.

First was coordinating arrivals as she would be flying in from a business trip in Texas. I managed to find flights that had us arriving within 20 minutes of each other. Perfect.  We would spend the first night in Vegas and then begin our adventure first thing in the morning.

Then I found that Celine Dion would be there and got tickets for her concert which I kept secret because I knew that Martha and Beaner would be very jealous. However, after a couple of months I realized that everyone should go and made arrangements for Martha and Beaner to come with me on Friday afternoon, then make their own weekend itinerary and be back to work on Monday.

The concert was good (but nothing compared to Adele). Afterward we walked to the Bellagio to see the fountain show and then early to bed (which because of the time difference was damn late for me)

Peachie and I were up and out early, rented our little compact car and were off to the Arizona desert. Our first stop was to see a little of historic Route 66 which was just as I imagined. We ate at a place called the Roadkill Cafe and took a few pictures of the old cars parked at the old abandoned gas stations, and then back in the car for another couple of hours driving to Sedona.

Having spent 5 hours driving through a  barren, but interesting to us, landscape, all of a sudden we rounded a bend and saw the famous red rocks of Sedona. We quickly found our adorable boutique hotel, laced up our hiking boots and went out to explore.

Climbing silty sand and rocks is challenging but oh the views were spectacular!  Our first hike took about 3 hours and around every turn there were new awesome formations.

Up early the next morning we headed out for Oak Creek Canyon, rated one of the 10 best hikes in America.  The trail is through a deep canyon, forested with Ponderosa Pine with lots of stream crossings. I was wishing I had brought my high top, waterproof hikers as balancing on logs and slippery rocks was quite humbling for me.  

We went into town for a quick lunch and took an impromptu Pink Jeep tour which had us travelling over extremely rugged roads with outstanding views.  It also gave me a chance to rest my tired feet.  

Then off to climb Bell Rock which is also considered a vortex with a special energy. Although technically there are trail markers on this rock, basically one has to climb, scramble or otherwise claw their way up.  We sat up there for a long time just taking in the view and the air and quiet.

The next morning we started out for the Grand Canyon. Morning is not the best time to see it but it is magnificent in any lighting. We hiked around the southern rim for a few hours trying to take it all in which is, of course, impossible.

Our next stop was Page, Arizona where we arrived late in the afternoon, had the best BBQ and cornbread I’ve ever eaten and then hiked up to see Horseshoe Bend, an area where the Colorado River loops around a large rock formation 1,000 ft. below.  It is a sheer dropoff with no fencing or protection. Although others got close to the edge, I stayed a safe, wimpy distance back.

The next morning we went to tour the Lower Antelope Canyon on the Navajo Reservation.  Five very steep and narrow stairways bring you down into the space and then you just meander through.

These pictures were all taken with my phone, with no special lens, just snapping upwards as we walked along.  It is probably the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen.  I was simply awestruck.

After that, my legs and feet were begging for mercy so we rented some kayaks to explore the canyons along the shores of Lake Powell.  

Then back in the car for a couple hour drive to Zion National Park.  It was getting late when we arrived so we took a short hike on an easy trail, dinner and then fell into bed.  

We were happy to be up early to get back into the park as the lines to get in were already lengthening and the trailhead parking filling up. But I was happy to see kids and families outside enjoying these amazing natural resources.  It was rare to see anyone on their phones - although probably because there was no service.  Still is was refreshing to see.

Our morning hike was a bit more challenging as it was steep and rocky. Often the trail narrowed down to a 12 inch width, with sheer dropoffs.  I watched kids just skip across these areas whereas I was clinging to the walls for dear life. Still, the magnificence of the place made it all worth it.

And then it was time to head back. Another 3 hours drive back to Vegas.  I have to admit at this point I was ready to see some trees and denser vegetation.  

In 4 1/2 days we spent 11 hours in planes, 14 hours in a car, drove over 1200 miles, hiked about 32 miles and climbed the equivalent of 250 flights of stairs.  We also laughed, got lost, shared meals and dreams, helped each other over and across difficult terrain, sat silently together on mountains, saw unimaginable sights, breathed in pine filled air, and were constantly stunned by the beauty that continually changed with each curve in the road and the angle of the sun.

I gave this trip 5 stars.


  1. Sounds amazing. That experience with your daughter, priceless.

    Great pics.

    1. I am all about sharing experiences and this one was truly amazing.

  2. I am so glad you did this trip! Now, I know your family loves the Mouse, but this is so worth seeing. It sounds like a good combination of driving and hiking. Many people only get out of their cars at the Grand Canyon (and only for a few pix at the rail). You two actually hiked! Well, of course you did.

    And, you were there in spring, while it is green and lovely and not burning hot! Great timing! I hope Peachie had as much fun as you did. (I'm sure she did!) Great times together are irreplaceable.

    Thanks for the travelogue!

    1. Thank you for your planning suggestions. Boo on people who only drive through these awesome landscapes. They are missing so much! I even saw a man in a wheelchair navigating some of the rim trail! Come on people!

      BTW - the Capitol Butte was the inspiration for Disney's Thunder Mountain.

  3. Wow! That sounds like a dream vacation. Thanks for sharing the photos with us.

    1. It was a dream vacation and the photos don't come near the experience. One for the bucket list.

  4. This is beautiful! I grew up in country that looks very similar to this and your post made me a bit homesick...what an amazing journey for you both! So glad you had the time together and did such an active trip. Wow!

    1. I spoke with a Navajo girl who told me that she had been to West Virginia and felt very claustrophobic with all the trees lining the highways. It is interesting how landscapes can form so much of our sense of being.

  5. Sounds like a perfect trip! Glad you could share it together. I would love to see that part of the country some day!

    1. I wish I had done it sooner - with a younger body : ) This country has such an awesome variety of natural resources.

      Better go now before some president sells them, or puts a hotel in the middle of them.

  6. Vegas I hope never to enter, but Sedona is high on my list. Even higher now that I've seen this post. It's gorgeous!

  7. 12 hours in Vegas was more than enough for me. Sedona was beautiful but I would definitely recommend the trip to Page to see Antelope Canyon. The beauty will live with me forever.

    (Cuba may be next for me. If so, I will be getting in touch for some recommendations)